‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Could Help Marvel Studios Make Box Office History

Marvel Studios could be the first production studio with three $100 million-plus openings in the same year

Fifteen years after “Spider-Man” became the first movie with a $100 million-plus opening weekend, Marvel Studios could become the first production studio to make three movies with nine-digits starts in a single calendar year if “Thor: Ragnarok” reaches that milestone this weekend.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been firing on all cylinders in 2017, with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” making $146.5 million and “Spider-Man-Homecoming” making $117 million in their respective openings this summer. Now “Thor: Ragnarok” is projecting to open in the $100-110 million range from 4,080 screens, which would be a step-up from the MCU’s two previous fall releases, “Thor: The Dark World” and “Doctor Strange.” Both of those films posted $85 million openings.

In the past, distributors have released three or more films with nine-digit openings in a single year, but never have they come from the same studio. Last year, Disney  earned $100 million-plus openings from their in-house production studio (“The Jungle Book,”) Marvel Studios (“Captain America: Civil War,”), Pixar (“Finding Dory”) and Lucasfilm (“Rogue One”). In 2015, Universal had three nine-digit openings produced by One Race Films/Original Film (“Furious 7”), Amblin and Legendary Pictures (“Jurassic World”) and Illumination (“Minions”).

Should “Thor: Ragnarok” hit projection targets, Disney will finish the year with five nine-digit openings: the three Marvel releases, “Beauty and the Beast” ($174 million opening/$504 million domestic) and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is expected to have the biggest opening of the year with over $200 million. Reviews for the latest “Thor” film have been strong, earning a 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes score off of the light, breezy style of director Taika Waititi.

“Thor: Ragnarok” stars Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett, Karl Urban, and Anthony Hopkins. Waititi directed from a script written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost. Kevin Feige is producer.